real estate

‘Superman’ owner seeks up to $75M in public financing

HIGH ROCK DEVELOPMENT LLC, the owner of Industrial trust Tower, is asking for up to $75 million in public financing to help transform the so-called "Superman Building" into apartments.
Posted 4/30/13

PROVIDENCE – The owner of the Industrial Trust Tower in downtown Providence is asking for up to $75 million in public financing to transform the historic office building into apartments.

A study of redevelopment options for the property, known as the “Superman Building,” released Tuesday by consultants for tower owner High Rock Development LLC, concluded that converting the property into residences makes more sense than trying to find new office tenants for it.

“It is incredibly important that we get this right and adopt a plan that ensures the highest and best use of the building,” said Bill Fischer, spokesperson for High Rock Development. “These reports confirm that converting the Superman building into rental apartments is in fact the highest and best use of the building.”

Transforming the 1927 Art Deco office tower into an apartment building will cost $130 million, the studies, from Cornish Associates of Providence and HR&A Advisors Inc. of New York, said.

To finance such a project, High Rock is proposing $39 million in unspecified state assistance, $21 million in federal historic tax credits and between $10 and $15 million in city property tax breaks.

The Wellesley, Mass. firm would invest $55 million – through debt and equity – in the project.

The residential conversion plan laid out by Cornish would create 278 rental apartments ranging from “micro-studios” to three-bedroom apartments. Rents would range from $1,125 to $2,750 per month.

The conversion would also include 33,000-square-feet on the lower level for shops, offices and restaurants.

The 26-story Superman Building is the tallest in Rhode Island.

The previous tenant, Bank of America, left the building this spring.

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